Showcasing the finest historic and contemporary castle artists and combining history with art, Capture the Castle at Southampton City Art Gallery is the first ever large-scale art exhibition on the subject of British castles. It conjures the mystique, excitement and prestige of the castle from Iron Age hill forts to Victorian reproductions and fantasy castles. It includes famous and rarely seen works from public and private collections, including loans from Tate, The British Museum, V&A, the Government Art Collection and from the collections of major artists.
J.M.W. Turner, Norham Castle, on the River Tweed, 1822-3, Tate Collection, accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 © Tate, London, 2017
Steeped in history and legend, these extraordinary buildings exude a powerful and brooding presence. They conjure knights in shining armour, high-born heroines, evil deeds and deep dungeons, high adventure and royal intrigue. The first sight of a great Medieval castle such as Conwy, Harlech or Dover can be a spine-tingling moment because of their exceptional visual wow factor.
Turner, Girtin, Cotman, Ibbetson, Sandby, Varley and many others travelled to castles throughout Britain in the search of the Picturesque. Castles, often sited in spectacular locations, were the perfect subject for the Romantic movement of the early 19th century that embraced the heroic past. Castles have been equally inspiring to modern-day artists and the exhibition includes work by over 25 contemporary artists including Christopher Le Brun (President of the Royal Academy of Arts), Alan Rankle, Norman Ackroyd RA, Alan Lee and David Gentleman.
The exhibition includes a fully illustrated catalogue, which has been generously sponsored by the Punter Southall Group, and runs until 2 September 2017.
Augustus William Enness (1876–1948) · Southampton City Art Gallery. Ludlow Castle